By Prossy Nandutu
Industrial bio ethanol
Okurut explained further that from bananas, one can extract industrial bio ethanol that accounts for 15% of Petroleum blended fuels (15%), and if adopted, it could save Uganda an import bill of USD$175m
The ethanol produced can also be used in the production of personal care products, good for sterilizing equipment and is also used in the production of sanitizer.
From banana fiber, extracted from pseudo stems, one can produce textiles, Fabric, Furniture, Briquettes, Biodegradable hair extensions, Woven carpets, ropes& rugs, Paper (tissue, boards, packing bags, currency notes) Insulation material, Fibre, Floor tiles, Sanitary towels, Animal feeds, Craft materials
But where are the processing facilities?
According to Okurut farmers interested in adding value to bananas but have no machinery to should look out for government institutions, with incubation facilities for support.
Examples of such institutions include Makerere Unuveirsty Food Technology department, Incubation facilities at different NARO research stations, Uganda Industrial Research Institute for training but also hosting for beginners among others.
The other option is for farmers to form groups and get in touch with banana researchers for continuous training on value addition and production of bananas for food and commercial purposes.
“It may be hard for you to establish a processing or value addition facility but through groups, you can secure asset finance, as we research to carry out technical backstopping at every stage of production provide technical backstopping,” said Okurut.